Current eNews Letter from Executive Director, Rodney Petersen on July 24th, 2015:
Friends of CMM,
Political culture in the United States takes its cue from July 4, our nation's recognized Independence Day. So, too, it draws vision from July 14, Bastille Day or French Independence Day, and the recognized virtues of “liberty, equality and fraternity.” In this mid-summer blush of revolutionary spirit let's not overlook Swiss Independence Day on August 1. This is the anniversary of the Bundesbrief (Federal Charter) adopted by several communes in 1291, when they came together and established the nation now known as Switzerland.
Switzerland is a “nation by consensus” - no single language or culture but with roots that lie in a common history, in shared myths and in the freedoms of grassroots democracy and the federalist tradition. The different cultures, religions and social minorities which make up Switzerland have led to a unique political system, with the accent on federalism, a wide-ranging right to participate in the political process, a foreign policy based on neutrality and domestic politics based on consensus.
There might be things we can learn from this third mid-summer revolution as we in America struggle with issues of multi-culturalism. For example, can we tolerate more than one national language? Do we have a shared myth or a dominant story? Does grassroots democracy prevail in our country and among the many aspirants for the presidency? In other words, are we a “nation by consensus”? Consensus implies degrees of acceptance of the “other” and may yield political co-existence, constructive cooperation, or a new civil communion.
CMM's Interfaith Youth Initiative (IFYI), July 26 – August 2, is designed to foster a “people by consensus,” that is to: 1) build bridges, 2) train leaders, 3) engage faitih, 4) serve others, and 5) make peace.